For the past few days, I’ve been trying to master spinning coils. There are tutorials on You Tube of different methods of spinning coils, but my favourite explanation is from an article in Spin Off magazine by Jacey Boggs.
For my first attempt, I used hand dyed commercially prepared merino top. You want your fibres to be rather short for the thick and thin single. You spin this first, using strips of the top about the thickness of the thumb and spin these on a slow speed preferably with a large orifice. You will make the slubs, or thick sections, by pinching the strip of fibre with the thumb on your drafting hand and giving it a little clockwise twist. Then where it thins out, pinch the fibre, draw out the fibre and spin a thin section. The thick sections won’t have a lot of twist, but will stay together. You can get by with some over twisting as this is what you want for the coils.
When the bobbin is full of the thick and thin single, you will finish the coils by plying with a strong thread. This should be the same colour as the single, or a complimentary colour. I used silk for my plying thread as it is very strong or you can spin your own laceweight single. The plying is where the coils are created and this process took a lot of practice until I got it right. Hold the plying thread in the left hand and hold it straight out from the orifice. At the same time. hold the thick and thin single at a right angle to the thread and let it coil around the thread. You have more tension in the thread and when you come to a thick section, slow down, let the slub wrap around the thread, stop the wheel and push the thick section up toward the orifice. Then reverse and hold the thread at a right angle to the single, wrapping it a few times to anchor the coil.
Believe me, it took me several hours of practice and patience to get the coils to look as I imagined they should. They’re still not perfect, but I’m enjoying the process and will keep practicing.